• Germany's news in English

Vattenfall Germany under fire in Sweden

The Local · 1 Mar 2013, 12:25

Published: 01 Mar 2013 12:25 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The conservative newspaper Svenska Dagbladet said the state-owned firm had "completely hit the wall", not least for its German subsidiary, while the centre-left paper Aftonbladet said it was an "arrogant environmental villain."

It's no secret that Vattenfall has based its profitable German business on dirty coal-fired electricity generation. But last year profits collapsed, prompting business newspaper Dagens Industri to report the matter with the headline "Vattenfall's foreign billion slap."

The €1.8-billion loss incurred with the purchase of Dutch gas firm Nuon in 2009 was matched by a similar amount that will "go up in smoke" in Germany thanks to the move away from nuclear power and the mandatory sale of its electricity network, the paper said.

Even Vattenfall's communications chief in Stockholm, Ivo Banek admitted, "one can barely explain in Sweden why we have to depend on brown coal in Germany."

Yet managers at the German unit tell Swedish headquarters that it needs the income from brown coal - supposedly in order to invest in renewable energy.

Another divide between Swedish and German sensibilities concerns nuclear power. In Sweden, Vattenfall is involved in building new nuclear power stations, while in Germany they are all set to be shut down.

The drop-off in profits from Germany has prompted some Swedish politicians to float the idea of selling off the subsidiary. "It is hopeless for a state company to follow Swedish rules on climate policy here in Sweden, but in Germany to follow that of German politicians," said Carl B. Hamilton, economic policy spokesman for the Liberal Party. He said he hoped Vattenfall Germany could be sold off at a good price.

Story continues below…

"The debate is absolutely relevant, whether we become a regional Scandinavian provider again rather than an international company," said Vattenfall spokesman Banek.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:04 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd